We laugh about it now, but our firstborn really was the one who took the machete and carved her way through the jungle of childhood, blazing the trail for those who would come after.
In the process, she (and we) attained a fair amount of cuts, scrapes and bruises.We were much more laid-back for the other children. She used to throw up her hands in disgust at the easygoing way we raised her younger siblings.
“Marshmallows? Straight out of the bag? Seriously? I didn’t even know sugar existed until I was 12!”
And it’s true, to a certain extent.
She was the one who would have it out. We never worried about her sneaking around behind our backs – that wasn’t her nature. She’d march in and assert the right to do something, marshal an array of arguments that would make a district attorney proud, and usually win.
She’s like her dad in the sense that most of her lessons she learned the hard way.
When she did, her parents hurt right along with her – but I knew (and told her) that hard lessons are the best lessons, and that hard work and perseverance would eventually pay off for her. Like her dad, she wasn’t always patient, but good things did come her way.
She experienced success in high school, scholarships, college degrees (like her Mom, she made excellent grades) and eventually landed a good job. Along the way, she met a fine young man who happened to be handsome, humble, responsible, fun and crazy about her.
They hit it off right away, and we all watched as it grew into love.
One year ago Monday, I walked her down the aisle and gave her hand to him.
I’ve long taken note of my parents’ anniversary (although I still have trouble with the date) and 31 times I’ve remembered my own (I’m alive, ain’t I?) but it’s a little strange to have a child with an anniversary.
In a sense, it seems like yesterday – but then, her whole life seems like yesterday to me, from her noisy entrance into this world to chubby babyhood to teenage beauty to caps-and-gowns to that white dress. It’s all a rather startling blur, like opening a time capsule and having one of those spring-loaded, cloth-covered snakes leap out at you.
But in another sense, it’s like she and Bryan have been a couple forever. They’re that natural together – the way they smile quietly at each other when they think no one’s looking, the way she touches his head as she walks by his chair, the reverent way he talks about her cooking. The way they talk about the future and you can see so plainly that they’re looking in the same direction, wanting the best for each other, encouraging and supporting and proud.
In classic firstborn fashion, she went first through the jungle of a wedding, picking out the dress, ordering the cake, making the thousand decisions that go along with the brief ceremony that merges two lives into one. It all went off perfectly from my vantage point, but I’m sure her sister was making notes (just as she always has) on pitfalls to avoid, obstacles to step around.
She’s not alone. We’ve all learned a lot from watching this kid.